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A quick look at 52 week high and low stock prices: October 2011

October 11th, 2011 · Greg Atkinson · 17 Comments

So far 2011 has not been a good year for the Australian stock market despite the ASX All Ordinaries  & S&P/ASX 200 flirting with the 5000 points level earlier in the year.  Over recent months the market has fallen back into bear market territory so a review at this stage of some 52 week stock price highs & low may give us an insight into how the market is tracking.

The last time I checked the highs/lows for the stocks below was back at the end of December 2010 when the All Ordinaries Index was around 4,700 points. Today the All Ords closed around the 4,300 level so quite a few stocks have are probably trading well below their 52 week highs.

If we look at the table below we can see that is indeed the case.

52 Week Stock Prices Highs/Lows
(Last trade/closing prices as of 10th October 2011)
[table “13” not found /]

A closing price in green means the stock is trading higher than last time a check of 52 week stock prices was undertaken. (February 2010) A closing price in red means the stock price has fallen over the same period. A figure in black means the share price is approximately the same as the last review. A new stock, Westfield Group (WDC) has been added.

Obviously the table above shows a lot of red numbers which means that apart from a few stocks,  most shares closed lower on the 10th October 2011 than they did on the 31st December 2010.

This is indicative of a market wide pull-back. It isn’t just a the resources related stocks that are under pressure but rather most ASX listed stocks have been sliding and for quite some time.

Only National Australia Bank, Domino’s Pizza and Telstra are trading higher than they did back in December 2010.

Virgin Blue Holdings which has been down to a 52 week low of  23 cents and Macquarie Bank which closed yesterday $24.44 are candidates for stock market dogs of 2011 as is Fairfax Media.

Now let’s have a quick look at a few stock price charts.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) 1 year share price chart


The 52 week high for CBA of $55.77 was reached in February and basically its share price has been on the way down ever since.  It recent weeks it hit a new 52 week low of $42.30 and that is probably another reason why the bank announced recently that it will embark on a cost cutting program.

Macquarie Group (MQG) 1 year share price chart


Long term investors in Macquarie Group don’t have much to cheer about this year and it’s sobering to recall that at one stage shares in Macquarie Bank were poised to break through the $100 mark.  MQG shares hit a 52 week high of $41.95  in February and recently set a 52 week low of $19.94.

Platinum Asset Management (PTM) 1 year share price chart


Platinum Asset Management was once something of a stock market darling and  the shares actually broke though the $8 mark in the second half of 2007.  This year however has not been a good one for PTM shareholders and the stock is trading around its 52 week low at present.

Looking at the stock prices above it’s hard to spot signs of a multi-speed or dual speed economy.  Rather the market appears to be pricing in a weaker global economy in 2012 and although stocks may get a lift towards the end of the year I don’t expect we will be seeing many 52 week highs being breached over the next six months.

Greg Atkinson is the editor of Shareswatch Australia and the Managing Director of Ohori Capital He is originally from Australia but currently resides in Japan. He can be followed on twitter via @GregAtkinson_jp

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stillgotshoeson // Oct 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I think the 52 week low of the banks and BHP and RIO would make good entry points for the next round of buying of these companies, I am still convinced we will see new lows soon, the 52 week lows whilst not as low as the big fall a couple of years back, picking the bottom is impossible, so going with the 52 week low to start putting them back into my portfolio is not too bad a point of entry, they may well go lower than this, I expect they will, but I will hedge my bets and look to add them to my portfolio at around these levels.

  • 2 Greg Atkinson // Oct 12, 2011 at 8:37 am

    BHP & RIO set new 52 week highs since December 2010 but they also touched new 52 week lows. That says a lot about how volatile the market is – investors pounce on good news and then sell quickly on any bad news. I can’t see much optimistic buying out there. I am watching the banks & miners but I am not tempted to be a buyer at this stage.

    The U.S. economy is probably going to take years to sort itself out and who knows what will happen in Europe. These are two very big and important markets for Chinese exports and also an important source (or they were) of inward foreign investment. Therefore I can’t see how China is going to keep growing rapidly and creating jobs when it’s major customers are cutting back on spending.

    We simply don’t know if the slowdown in China will be hard or soft but since it is a command economy with not a lot of transparency I am guessing we will be surprised one way or another.

    The truly scary thing is that Australian policy makers don’t even have a China slowdown on their radars. The talk is all about managing a resources boom even whilst commodities prices are clearly showing signs of weakness.

    Personally I am being extra cautious at the moment and watching how events unfold.

  • 3 Leigh // Oct 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    “pounce on good news and sell on any bad news”
    Greg, I wonder if the volatility is caused more from computer selling that automatically takes any profit any time it can?
    Given that all things recover in time, can we expect to see MQG over $90.00 and CBA over $60.00 in say three years time?
    It seems to be taking a very long time to get any where near to recovery and I wonder how the GFC and its aftermath compares with the 1929 crash and its recovery? Different timesI know, but if we consider a 5 % annual growth is not unreasonable, we are a long way from where we should be and getting further behind. Logic would say blue chips have to be bargain buys but sentiment seems to beat logic every time.

  • 4 Stillgotshoeson // Oct 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    @Leigh I think the HF Algorithmic trading plays a large part in the volatility we are seeing.
    I am an optimist for the future and I think CBA, MQG ET AL will return and even exceed their previous highs in the future ( 5year on is more my guessing) A multi trillion dollar bank rescue in Europe combined with QEIII in the United States could even put them there sooner (won’t hold though).
    Personally I think (and take my opinion with a grain of salt as I am not a licensed financial adviser) the banks will go lower, 20% to 30% more is quite likely in my opinion. I will reiterate however that I am optimistic for the future and see them recovering all that lost ground and some. Picking the absolute bottom is impossible, accumulating at “comfortable” buy prices and building a nice portfolio over the next couple of years, or trade the volatility and get in on a low point and out again. Ones age has a a bearing on how one should enter the share market.
    I am looking to grow a wealth base at this point in my life, however “wealth” per se is not what I am ultimately seeking, income is what I seek, a consistent income source so I no longer have to work any more is my aim.

  • 5 Greg Atkinson // Oct 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    For sure computer trading has a big influence on the market but I imagine the trading programmes have been tweaked to take profits fairly quickly as opposed to taking longer term positions. This of course makes the markets more volatile. But at the end of the day humans are still in the loop at some point..for now anyway.

    In the years ahead most stocks, we hope, will recover and hit new highs but we shouldn’t forget that some pretty major ASX listed stocks didn’t make it through the GFC…Babcock & Brown (BNB) for example. I held some BNB shares so that makes me a little wary of assuming that a stock will recover at some point because some won’t and a few bad picks can do a lot of damage to a portfolio.

    At this stage I am not brave enough to make a long term prediction about CBA & MQG. I do have an indirect interest in both so maybe that says something. But then again I also had BNB shares so perhaps that means I have the reverse Midas touch!!

  • 6 Mr Editor // Oct 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    It’s interesting to see the major declines of MQG, but I feel as though the business will, in the long-term, return to its previous profitability.

    This is my rationale:

  • 7 Greg Atkinson // Oct 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for posting the link to the MQG review – it was well worth reading. For now I am steering clear of the banks until the wave of bank downgrades passes and the market settles a bit.

  • 8 Mr Editor // Oct 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Fair enough with all of the recent volatility.
    Otherwise, glad you enjoyed it.

  • 9 Greg Atkinson // Oct 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Hopefully things will calm down over the next few months and then in 2012 we can get our heads around how much debt is out there.

  • 10 Greg Atkinson // Oct 18, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Mr Editor it seems you are ahead of the curve! An article about Macquarie Group is in The Australian today and it also suggest MQG shares might be under-priced by the market. See: Macquarie market divisions undervalued

  • 11 Mr Editor // Oct 19, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Thanks for sharing that article, Greg. Although I’d like to think that the good folks over at The Australian read my blog, they probably were drawn to MQG’s cheap stock price like I was.

  • 12 Greg Atkinson // Oct 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

    It appears pretty clear that the Chinese economy is slowing and according to this video reports from NHK World the slowdown is already being felt by companies in Japan.

    China Machinery Demand Down (Video)

    If the Chinese economy continues to slow than that is really going to drag quite a few stocks lower especially the miners.

  • 13 Biker // Oct 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Jeez, Greg… China Bear, Property Bear, PMs Bear… . Is there anything you aren’t ursine about? You remind me of an old mate of mine who predicted _everything_ would be cactused in 2011. 😉

  • 14 Ned S // Oct 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    One for the bulls (though not necessarily the Oz bulls as such I guess):

    One for the bears:

  • 15 Biker // Oct 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for those links, Ned. These two paras caught my attention:

    “China’s total investment in high speed rail was first reported to be about US$300 billion – the Chinese planned a 12,000km high speed passenger network supplemented by 20,000km of mixed traffic lines capable of 200-250kph.

    Recent reports indicate that over US$600 billion will be spent on rail construction during the 2011-2015 Five Year Plan. By 2020 there would be at least 16,000 km of passenger dedicated high speed rail. The total rail network by 2020 would be 120,000 km – 80% of it electrified.”

    Attempting to summarise China’s development in terms of any conventional paradigm may be a mistake. Underestimating the extent and breadth of China’s forward planning is the main issue.

  • 16 Greg Atkinson // Nov 1, 2011 at 9:23 am

    China’s high speed rail plans are under review and many projects are on hold. Perhaps those “recent reports” are probably not that recent?

  • 17 Biker // Nov 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    A sevenfold growth in nine years is a fairly ambitious undertaking, isn’t it? After that high-speed derailment back in July, it would be surprising if their rail plans weren’t ‘under review’, wouldn’t it?

    If one’s financial planning depended on China taking a 7X quantum leap, one _might_ be a little too optimistic.

    If one’s financial planning depended on _China_ suffering a high speed crash, one might be just a little disappointed. 😉

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